by Maury Koffman, APA President
The APA is proud to have led collective staff union negotiations that resulted in lump sum bonus payments, each in excess of $1,000, for APA bargaining unit members in January 2014 and January 2015.
January 2014 Lump Sum Bonus
As indicated in previous communications, roughly $300 per full-time bargaining unit member was withheld by the University from members’ January 2014 union negotiated lump sum bonus. The issued payment was $1,042.43 but the full payment as initially mutually agreed was $1,371. Through the assistance of the Michigan Education Association as our state affiliate, the APA successfully litigated the case and the lower court ruled in favor of the APA.
However, the plaintiff filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals on October 14, 2014. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals moves at its own pace and the case hasn’t even been scheduled for a hearing on the merits of the appeal.
The APA continues to be actively engaged in the litigation of this case and remains optimistic that the higher court will affirm the lower court’s ruling in our favor, compelling full payment of the remaining amount to those APA members who satisfied the January 2014 eligibility requirements.
January 2015 Lump Sum Bonus
In a disappointing action by the University, MSU unilaterally withheld roughly $100 from each member’s January 2015 lump sum bonus payment under the theory that should the plaintiff prevail in his legal appeal regarding the January 2014 lump sum bonus payment, the same impact would apply for the January 2015 payment. It is noteworthy that no claim has been filed with the court regarding the January 2015 payment. The amount issued in our January 2015 paycheck was $961.81 but the full payment as mutually agreed was $1,059.
Following the unilateral withholding of $100 from each member in our January 2015 paycheck the APA filed a grievance and in mid November 2015 the APA presented the arbitration regarding the January 2015 payment. We are still unsure if the arbitrator is going to move forward in issuing a decision because the University raised several concerns including their viewpoint of how the lawsuit regarding the January 2014 payment could impact liability for the January 2015 payment. If the arbitrator does issue a ruling we will communicate with the entire APA membership accordingly.
The January 2014 and January 2015 payments were the result of collective bargaining in reflection of the health care savings from 2009 – 2013 (roughly $2,400 per member). Since those total savings were paid out between the January 2014 and January 2015 bonus payments there is no lump sum bonus scheduled for January 2016.
It is our strong collective voice through the union that gives us the necessary resources to legally pursue full payment of the January 2014 and January 2015 lump sum bonus payments. The APA’s position affirms that the University should immediately cease its ongoing unilateral violation of our collective bargaining agreement by issuing payment of the remaining amounts withheld from our mutually agreed lump sum bonuses, plus accrued interest, from the January 2014 and 2015 payments.